In every student flat I’ve ever visited, the kitchen has included the following:
- incredibly mismatched cutlery and dishes – and no matter how many they have, eventually they will run out and people will start to mutter about whoever is not doing their share of the dishes
- at least one thermos without a lid
- at least one lid without a thermos
- several out-of-place appliances donated by parents – my flat has two identical bread makers
- a lot of empty take-away curry boxes, even if no one in the flat ever orders Indian
And while all of these things are simply part of the student lifestyle, there are a couple of things I think any student in a flat should get hold of if they can.
1) Proper Knives
Try cooking a meal using a blunt knife. Then try it with a sharp one. I guarantee that you’ll find it noticeably easier and quicker the second time.
This seems like something you can get by without, yet it’s so handy. Draining pasta, noodles and tinned vegetables is suddenly a lot easier.
3) Lots and Lots of Glasses
People will come to visit you (hopefully). They will want to drink something. And there’s something tragic about drinking wine out of a mug.
4) Rice Cooker
Did you know it is actually possible to burn rice to the pan? Well, if you’re flatting with a group of people that haven’t cooked for themselves before and don’t have a rice cooker, you’ll learn it eventually.
5) Stick Blender
This one’s incredibly handy. It’s perfect for soups and dips.
Tip: as a base for almost any meal, roughly chop an onion and fry it with whatever flavours you choose. Add a tin of tomatoes and cook a bit longer. Allow to cool slightly (or don’t, if you’re really hardcore or really hungry), then blend it using the stick blender until smooth. Add vegetables, tinned beans or chopped salami, and continue cooking until hot. Meanwhile, cook pasta or rice (if rice, you should actually start it a bit earlier because it will take longer than the meal does).
Okay, so it makes life easier – that’s a plus. But it also cuts down on arguments about dish washing, saves on water and power, and it’s better for the environment.
7) Bread Maker
A bread maker is only useful if you actually like bread. But if you do… by my calculations, I can make a loaf of bread for the same cost as the cheapest bread in the supermarket, it takes about five minutes to put all the ingredients in the pan and set the timer, and it tastes so much better.